Monday, November 04, 2013

I Saw Lou Reed Play One Song Live and It Was Amazing: Bob Dylan's "Foot of Pride"

Alas, I never saw Lou Reed perform a full concert, but I did see him play one song, and it was amazing. It was at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute Concert at Madison Square Garden in the fall of 1992. Among the performers were George Harrison, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, Chrissie Hynde, John Mellencamp, Eric Clapton, The Band, Willie Nelson, Johnny & June Carter Cash, Eddie Vedder, and of course Bob to bring it all back home.

Epic performances were aplenty that evening, and one of the best was from Lou. 

He came out pretty early in the show and started playing a two or three note drone and doing the talking-singing thing that he did better than anyone.

I am a world-class Dylanologist but I couldn't place the tune; perhaps he'd decided to one of his own songs as a tribute?

The song turned out to be "Foot of Pride," an Infidels outtake that had recently seen commercial release on the first installment of the ongoing Bootleg Series. Dylan's version had never really made an impression on me, but in Lou's hands it was mesmerizing, building in intensity and fury with each verse. And there were many verses.

Much credit goes to the BobFest "house band" for the evening, led by bandleader/guitar slinger G.E. Smith; and including Booker T, Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn from Booker T and the MGs; and Anton Fig from David Letterman's band on drums. They worked the dynamics of the tune perfectly and give it more power than Mark Knopfler could muster when he produced Dylan's version.

foot of pride Bob DYLAN [rare] by mystralgagnant95300

Lou, Bob, TP and Randy Newman 
One of the things I like best about Lou's performance is the way he makes no attempt to hide the fact that he's reading the lyrics off a teleprompter — who but Bob could be expected to commit all 87 verses of "Foot of Pride" to memory, or even to know what the tune is about, beyond something like betrayal and redemption? I personally have no idea, but in Lou's hands, I loved it.

By the way, I payed face value for my ticket to that show - and I had good seats. The price to see all those legends? $80. Remember that the next time The Eagles come around.

Buy on iTunes:
Lou Reed, "Foot of Pride"
Bob Dylan, "Foot of Pride"


yassou said...

While I, too, loved Lou's cover of "Foot of Pride," I can't agree that it somehow outstripped Dylan's version. Lou was frequently off on the meter and phrasing, while Dylan, as one might expect, was spot on. I betcha Lou would have agreed. After all, he must have been pretty impressed with the song himself to have choosen it for his spot on the Bobfest.

Cassidy said...

Great post! Thank you very much for this. Wow, did he - they, actually - do justice to this! Lou truly was The Man.

== Cass

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Brook said...

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